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2010 Nissan Altima Coupe Review


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2010 Nissan Altima Coupe

SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyers Guide


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HEELS ON WHEELS: NISSAN ALTIMA COUPE
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel INTRO TO THE NISSAN ALTIMA COUPE VEHICLE

The refreshed Nissan Altima Coupe is an affordable 2-door sporty ride with new exterior styling and revised optional packages. Highlights include a 4.3-inch backup camera, iPod connectivity, two chrome exhaust tips and a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with a fuel economy of 26-mpg.

I drove a 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe and S trim, featuring this smaller 175-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 180 lb-ft of torque. There is also a larger 270-horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 engine with 258 lb-ft of torque is available for the other or SR trim. Both are in front-wheel drive, have push-button start and a direct ignition system. Total price for my test drive came to $26,255.

Handling is always excellent on a Nissan, and suspension has been specially retuned for the Altima Coupe with slightly thicker front and rear stabilizer bars and a multi-link rear independent suspension design separating the shocks, springs and lines better with the center of the rear wheels. For transmission, you can opt for Nissan’s Xtronic CVT, which like most variable systems searches for the best or lowest gear ratios and rpms all on its own to deliver a smoother and more fuel-efficient ride. The V6 adds a “sport” mode controller for faster auto or manual shifting to the CVT.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: My 2.5 S trim test drive was outfitted with the Premium Package and featuring a 7-speaker Bose stereo, a 4.3-inch color display with Nissan’s RearView Monitor and a moonroof. Another option added was the Convenience Package with 8-way power driver’s seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls. Dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are also included. I recommend the optional 4.3-inch screen display as a backup camera on a coupe can be a necessity due to the lowered and bolstered seating and sedan-sized chassis.

Reliability & Safety Factor: All 2010 Altima models now include Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamic Control. The Coupe earns five stars for driver and passenger protection in frontal impacts and for driver and passenger protection side collisions. J.D. Power’s finds past owns site “average” for just operating characteristics of some accessories. The 2010 Altima Coupe comes with the following standard safety features: Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS); front seat belts with E-pretensioners and load limiters; Active Head Restraints; LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children); Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones; Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC); Traction Control System (TCS); and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

Cost Issues: Starting price for the Altima Coupe is $22,440. Fully loaded, the price is still reasonable at $34,070 making this one of the most affordable coupes on the market. The Premium Package mentioned above costs $2k and the Convenience Package is $1k.

Activity & Performance Ability: The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder takes a while to spool up or display responsive acceleration. The CVT certainly saves grace by creating a better or quicker gear ratio to send the vehicle smoothly along the road. Steering wheel paddles would have made the ride much more fun on the 4-cylinder engine. The Coupe also has a responisve standard vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system and quick 4-wheel disc brakes with standard 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD).

The Green Concern: Pushing the throttle on uphill driving or generally being too harsh on the 4-cylinder engine can deliver the kind of fuel economy results I got, which were around 3-mpg below estimated or 23-mpg.

FINAL PARTING WORDS

The Altima Coupe is an affordable 2-door ride equipped with a slew of popular Nissan interior technology like a 4.3-inch color monitor and Bose stereo. Even fully loaded, it won’t reach $35k. Consider testing the V6 if the 4-cylinder doesn’t prove to accelerate fast enough for your sporty taste.

©2010 Katrina Ramser